Despite his goal of "changing the way Washington does business," President Obama's legislative and policy agenda continues to bob along on waves and waves of lobbyist and special interest money. And whether it is good or bad depends upon which side of the issues you stand. For example, I am happy to have Howard Dean lobby for the passage of health care reform. So we have the good, the bad and the ugly of influence peddling.
The Good -- Now it is a good thing for our own progressive organizations to work to try to have influence over the outcomes of legislation. Clearly that is my bias.
- Democracy for America's Dr. Howard Dean has it right when he said a couple of days ago,
Here's what I know: When we work together, we're unstoppable.
As my brother Jim said yesterday, the media has it wrong. The campaign for the choice of a public health insurance option will be over only if we quit or we've won. That decision is ours to make. Not the media's decision - Not the insurance industry's decision - It's our decision.
- Credo Action from Working Assets - The website has petitions to sign urging that the administration come out for a public option in health care reform.
The bad -- Somehow it seems bad for foreign special interests to pay lobbyists to try to peddle influence in the United States. I could be wrong. And if anyone is interested, ProPublica has a nifty new tool for at least keeping up with foreign lobbyists. It is called Foreign Lobbying Influence Tracker. It is a joint project with the Sunlight Foundation.
The ugly -- In an interesting ugly twist, House Minority Leader John Boehner is mad at his old ally, who runs the lobbying group that represents the pharmaceutical industry. To quote:
In a letter to former Louisiana Rep. Billy Tauzin, who heads the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA . . . House Republican Leader John A. Boehner slammed the drug industry Tuesday in a sharply critical letter to the former GOP congressman who heads its trade association.
Boehner accused the drug industry of cutting a deal with the bully,” and calls the group “short-sighted” and “misguided.”
Boehner called PhRMA’s dealings with the Obama administration “appeasement,” an apparent reference to British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s strategy for dealing with Nazi Germany in the late 1930s. “Appeasement rarely works as a conflict resolution strategy,” the letter begins.
Bonus special interest group run by another one of the good guys (again my bias): The William J. Clinton Foundation offers a way to send President Clinton a birthday greeting, as August 19 is his birthday. You might thank him for his humanitarian efforts in North Korea. Link: In honor of Bill Clinton’s birthday, send an e-card today with your personal note.
[Post date - Aug. 19, 2009]
See also Behind the Links, for further info on this subject.
Blogs: My general purpose/southwest focus blog is at Southwest Progressive. My creative website is at Making Good Mondays. And Carol Gee - Online Universe is the all-in-one home page for all my websites.